On Saturday, Sept. 4, the Wooster Fighting Scots’ home football game against the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes featured once-familiar sights: a packed crowd, terrific pregame and halftime performances by the Scot band, and enthusiastic cheerleaders. In the first ever matchup between the two teams, Wooster came out on top in a thrilling opener 42-35.
The Scots’ offense was in sync all night, as Wooster’s senior captain quarterback, Mateo Renteria, completed 19 of his 29 passes for 277 yards and tossed three touchdown passes. Renteria spread around the wealth as well, completing passes to seven different receivers. Fellow senior captain Cole Hissong, who had a touchdown catch, was impressed with the offense’s performance, stating “it shows Mateo’s confidence in the group to make plays when it matters and also the confidence we have in ourselves.”
Defensively, the Scots faced the Golden Tornadoes’ run-heavy, triple option offense. The triple option is a running play in which the quarterback has the “option” to hand off the ball to a bruising fullback, keep the ball, or pitch the ball to a running back. Angelo Petracci, the senior captain linebacker, thought that “the biggest challenge prepping for the triple option is making sure that everyone knows their assignment. We knew that they were going to run the ball 90 to 95 percent of their plays, but every play the quarterback had the option to handoff or pitch the ball to two to three different people.” Despite this unique challenge, the Scots’ defense made several crucial plays throughout the game.
Early in the second quarter, a one-yard rushing touchdown by junior Andrew Yanssens gave the Scots a 14-7 lead. Five minutes later, after Wooster’s defense forced a turnover on downs, Renteria threw perhaps his best pass of the night to first-year wideout Bryant Douglas II for a 42-yard touchdown to give Wooster a 21-7 lead. Renteria noticed that Geneva’s defensive coverage was “press man back side with no safety over the top. On the snap, the safety worked away from the boundary, so I knew I had the one-on-one match up. I trusted the O-line for some time, trusted young Red, and put it downfield for him.”
After Geneva cut the Wooster lead to 21-14 at halftime, the Scots’ defense responded with a pair of turnovers in the third quarter. Sophomore defensive back Kobe Nadu caught Geneva’s quarterback’s pitch in midair and took it to the house to give the Scots a 28-14 lead. Nadu credited the score to team defense, saying that the “linebacker and safety hit the quarterback and he tried to pitch it late and I came through and jumped it after getting off the block.” Then, with a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter, Wooster’s sophomore defensive end Domenic DeMuth recovered a Geneva fumble. The Scots’ offense took advantage of the short field and stretched the lead to 35-21 on a Renteria pass to junior wideout EJ Humphries.
After Geneva cut the lead again to 35-28 with a long touchdown drive, Wooster’s senior running back, Troy Baughman, broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown run to give the Scots a 42-28 cushion with 7:05 left. Geneva responded with a terrific kickoff return and short touchdown drive that made it 42-35. With 3:57 left, Wooster was forced to punt, giving the Golden Tornadoes a chance to tie the game. Wooster’s defense had other plans, as junior defensive back Dorion Talley broke up a fourth down pass to secure the Wooster victory. “The mentality was to focus on making one stop at a time. We were able to get in the right defensive alignment to win and ultimately it worked out in our favor,” said Petracci on the defensive stand. Hissong was also proud of the team’s overall performance, but is already focused on next week. “Any time you walk away with a win, it’s a great feeling. Starting the season 1-0 was our priority, but we just want to take it one week at a time.”
Wooster faces off next at home against Kenyon on Saturday September 11, at 1:00 PM.